So, the pre-trial finally happened yesterday, after two delays (the original was scheduled in June). Unfortunately, things are still not moving as smoothly as we’d like. E’s bio-mom had apparently not had a chance to look over the proposed open adoption arrangement, so that is still pending. E’s bio-dad was there, and is not at all willing to even consider an open adoption arrangement, so a trial date has been set for mid-January. Most involved are of the opinion that b-dad has basically no chance of winning at trial, but his lawyer contends that he has done everything DCF has asked him to do, and everyone is worried that even if he does lose, he’ll file an appeal and this thing will drag on for another year or two, which E does NOT want. I just got off the phone with the lawyer, however, and before that trial date, there will a hearing–in just a couple weeks–about b-dad’s motion for visitations. He has not seen E for a couple years, I think, and while E is more open to seeing him than seeing his mom, I don’t think he wants to see him right now. I also worry based on how he reacted to just a note from his dad, never mind a visit. The other big thing is that the DCF lawyer would like E to testify. He would not have to face his parents, but would talk to the judge in chambers. I think E kind of wants to do it–my suspicion is that he is feeling very powerless in this process, and this would give him a better sense of control and making his voice heard above the din of all the arguing adults. It is a hard thing, as he’s definitely gotten a lot of flack from his bio-family about his choice to be adopted, but I also know how badly he wants it, and wants the permanancy.
While this legal process is annoying and frustrating, it’s the relationship with his bio-parents that has me struggling most. The lawyer unknowingly forced me to reveal that I’d met E’s bio-mom, but we seem to be ok with that, even though he is still quite angry at her. We talked a little yesterday about how she might feel about all this, even if she really can’t parent him the way he needs and had made some bad choices. I asked him why he was open to visits with dad, and he said that even though he’d made bad choices (his words), he paid attention to E when he was around (unlike his mom, so he says) and he actually liked his dad. I really want to encourage E to have a relationship with his birth family if he wants one, but then again, I also feel that it’s my job to have a say over who has influence in his life. From all I know about his dad, he is not someone I want E to be around, especially as a single mom. I’m trying to cultivate good models of masculinity, especially–when I can–men of color, and his dad is not someone E should emulate. I don’t want to keep him away if he wants to visit, but I want to keep him safe.
Sigh. This is all so complicated.